CHICAGO (WLS) -- The gift of a loving community was on display ahead of Christmas in Beverly.
A special annual holiday celebration was held Sunday for Special Olympics athletes in Beverly as they were treated to a deliciously festive breakfast.
As a community, we support the Special Olympic missionAld. Matt O
The big man in red himself made an early stop, hearing Christmas wishes from children with physical and intellectual disabilities. The event was held at Franconello's Restaurant.
"As a community, we support the Special Olympic mission," 19th Ward Ald. Matt O'Shea said. "Very proud to be born and raised here and to serve here."
Ald. O'Shea welcomed dozens of families from the Mt. Greenwood Special Recreation Program. It is one of the largest programs for people with disabilities in the city, and is located in O'Shea's ward.
"They're going to get a great meal here at Franconello, and they get quality one-on-one time with Santa," Ald. O'Shea said. "That's a premium these days."
The Mother McAuley High School acapella choir lifted spirits with some holiday classics, while families had breakfast and decorated some Christmas cookies.
Jayne Sullivan is a senior student at the high school. She said spreading Christmas cheer is one of her specialties.
"I just love giving back to my community like this," senior student Jayne Sullivan said. "I would say the best part is just watching everybody's faces light up when we start to sing, because I love Christmas so much, and I love seeing how much other people love it too."
Katie Kettering and her son Charlie had a chance to visit Santa.
"Oh my gosh! This is great," Kettering said. "What Matt (O'Shea) does for our community and what Mt. Greenwood Park does for our community is just awesome."
She said the Mt. Greenwood Special Recreation Program provides a social outlet for her son.
"They are so wonderful to our special rec program and our special rec kids, and Charlie just has so many friends, and he loves spending time with all of them," Kettering said.